Archive for August, 2010

Johnny Isakson up with first TV ad, and Michael Thurmond talks about race

Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson, who has more acorns stored up in his treasury than any other candidate in Georgia, went up with the first TV ad of the U.S. Senate campaign this morning.

A portion of his message — declaring that his unnamed Democratic opponent, Michael Thurmond, “supports President Obama” – is just a little taste of what Roy Barnes can expect to see in the race for governor.

But most telling in the ad is the phrase he allows suporters to use in describing his work: “He doesn’t stand on the sidelines.”

Isakson is, at bottom, a negotiator willing to attempt compromises. That involves risk. His work – with Georgia colleague Saxby Chambliss – on an immigration bill in 2007 rankled the hard-liners in the Georgia GOP. (Both ultimately denounced the effort.)

Consider this ad an attempt by Isakson to explain himself — particularly to independents.

The script:

Actor One: Some in Washington stand on the sidelines.

Actor Two: Not Johnny Isakson.

Actor Three:

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What’s next: Deal, Handel, Barnes and the murky results of the GOP runoff for governor

At 1 a.m. Wednesday, the secretary of state’s website showed 99 percent of precincts reporting and Nathan Deal leading Karen Handel in the GOP runoff for governor by a mere 2,489 votes.

Handel isn’t conceding, and Deal isn’t declaring victory. But don’t look for an impasse to last more than a few hours into Wednesday – the state GOP can’t afford to give Democrat Roy Barnes any more of a head start.

This morning, for instance, became yet another opportunity for Barnes to appear by himself on local morning TV shows, while his Republican opponents stayed cautious and out of sight.

Let’s first look at what will happen regardless of whether Deal is declared the winner, or Handel.

What comes next:

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, left, is supported by his wife Sandra. AP/John Amis

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, left, is supported by his wife Sandra. AP/John Amis

There’s the mess in Washington, and the mess in the state Capitol.

Decide which one worries you most, and you’re halfway to solving the riddle of the November race for governor of …

Continue reading What’s next: Deal, Handel, Barnes and the murky results of the GOP runoff for governor »

Republican race for governor could stretch into Wednesday

We’ve received word that the Associated Press is unlikely to call a result in the GOP runoff race for governor of Georgia tonight.

At nearly 11 p.m., with 91 percent of precincts reporting, Nathan Deal leads Karen Handel by fewer than 3,000 votes.

This will add a little uncertainty to tomorrow’s Fulton County Republican party’s “unity” breakfast, scheduled for 7:30 a.m.

House Speaker David Ralston, who has pledged to support the winner of tonight’s contest, will be the ranking Republican there, we’re told.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

Continue reading Republican race for governor could stretch into Wednesday »

When an endorsement isn’t an endorsement

On Monday, we passed on reports from Tim Echols, locked in a Republican runoff contest for a seat on the Public Service Commission, that he’d been endorsed by a number of people — including Randy Hicks, president of the Georgia Family Council.

This morning, Hicks reportedly posted the following on his Facebook page:

To my Georgia friends: Contrary to what was reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Political Insider yesterday, I have not endorsed anyone in any race. Could I? Yes, as an individual. But I choose not to because the issues GFC deals with transcend parties and candidates. But I HAVE already voted in today’s runoff election and so should you!

Echols conceded the point in a note this morning:

Technically speaking, Randy Hicks’ statement on my website is not an endorsement (since he doesn’t do endorsements), but only as a testimony to our relationship over the years.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Roy Barnes doesn’t wait — he’s up with first TV ad of the November race for governor

Roy Barnes, the Democratic nominee for governor, isn’t waiting to see whether he’ll face Nathan Deal or Karen Handel in a general election battle tomorrow morning.

One note on the TV ad: Barnes campaign manager Chris Carpenter said this may be the first use of an iPad in a 30-second political spot. Something to tell the kids.

From the Associated Press:

Democrat Roy Barnes launched a pre-emptive strike in Georgia’s race for governor Tuesday, unleashing his first campaign ad of the general election even as voters were selecting the Republican who will face him in November.

The ad — a broadside against the state’s ruling GOP — was to begin airing Tuesday around the state. It sketches out what is sure to become a familiar line of attack as the general election gets underway: that Georgia is falling behind.

Without ever mentioning the word Republican, the TV spot asks if Georgians want to continue with “the same team that gave us ethics violations, teacher furloughs, tax …

Continue reading Roy Barnes doesn’t wait — he’s up with first TV ad of the November race for governor »

Your morning jolt: Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 says ‘no way’ her ex wins the White House in ‘12

While you’re waiting for the polls to close today, kill some time with this Esquire magazine piece that focuses on former House speaker Newt Gingrich – and a first lengthy interview with Mrs. Gingrich No. 2.

A taste:

It’s been twelve years since his extraordinary political career — the one in which he went from being a bomb-throwing backbencher in the seemingly permanent Republican minority to overthrowing the established order of both parties — collapsed around him.

newtandmarianne

Then House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and his wife Marianne leave their home for Capitol Hill in January 1997. Associated Press

And yet, stunningly, in all that time Newt Gingrich hasn’t been replaced as the philosopher king of the conservative movement. And as the summer rolled on, a revivified Gingrich sat atop the early polls of Republican presidential contenders, leading the field in California, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas and polling strongly in Illinois and Pennsylvania. This year he has …

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Landmark poll: Nathan Deal and Karen Handel in dead heat

The local Republican-oriented strategy firm of Landmark Communications, which last week gave Karen Handel a 46 to 37 percent lead over Nathan Deal in the Republican runoff for governor, is out this afternoon with a follow-up poll – that says Deal has closed the gap.

Says Landmark:

Deal leads 44-42% over Handel with 14% saying they will vote but are still undecided. Based on a previous Landmark poll conducted August 1st, Deal has moved up eleven percentage points over the past week, from nine back to two ahead….

“Nathan Deal has moved from behind to a statistical tie,” said Landmark President Mark Rountree. “Over the past week, Deal effectively won many undecided and less committed voters, making this a dead heat. We don’t make a prediction on the outcome of this.”

A poll released over the weekend by the AJC and the Georgia Newspaper Partnership showed Handel and Deal in a tight race, but with Handel leading Deal 47 percent to 42 percent. The GNP survey indicated a …

Continue reading Landmark poll: Nathan Deal and Karen Handel in dead heat »

Karen Handel finishes like she started — and Sarah Palin slams Georgia Right to Life

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during a rally for GOP runoff for governor candidate Karen Handel. AP/John Bazemore)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during a rally for GOP runoff for governor candidate Karen Handel. AP/John Bazemore)

If the tone of Karen Handel’s campaign of the last three weeks has surprised political veterans, perhaps it is because it has violated an unwritten rule – that frontrunners should present themselves as good cops.

 Let the underdog play bad cop, and make the attacks.

But if Sarah Palin’s visit to Atlanta this afternoon did anything, it made clear that Handel would finish the runoff campaign as she started it – with a furious volley aimed at Nathan Deal and members of the state Legislature who back him.

Said Handel, after climbing the stage to appear with her husband Steve, Palin and her husband Todd:

“Governor Palin was underestimated, too. She took on the powerful career politicians. And no one thought she could win, but she did. And she pushed through real ethics reform that had the political elite screaming in their smoke-filled backroom. And that’s …

Continue reading Karen Handel finishes like she started — and Sarah Palin slams Georgia Right to Life »

One difference between Huckabee and Palin rallies: A disembodied head

A confession from the Sarah Palin event: The Insider took most of Sunday off and was not at the Mike Huckabee event for Nathan Deal in Gainesville.

And yet, the Palin rally for Karen Handel, is something different.

palinhead

Mary DuBose from McDonough borrowed a mannequin from her daughter's wig shop to create a likeness of Sarah Palin to today's rally in Buckhead. Phil Skinner pskinner@ajc.com

The crowd is packed in a ballroom of the Hotel Intercontinental in Buckhead – though the fire marshal hasn’t yet been summoned. Probably between 1,500 and 2,000. The Huckabee event for Deal drew about 700.

The Huckabee event probably did not include Huckabee impersonators. The Palin event does. There’s a woman here in a red suit, brown hair piled on top, with glasses.

The Huckabee event probably did not include Huckabee’s head on a stake, held aloft for all the crowd to see. The Palin event does, with wig and glasses.

What’s that? I asked. “A disembodied Sarah Palin head. In a good way,” said …

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Your morning jolt: Was there a runoff agreement between Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson?

Over the weekend, a robo-call from Eric Johnson, who finished third in the July 20 Republican primary, hit the homes of GOP voters, urging unity after Tuesday’s vote in the Republican runoff for governor.

One of the recipients was Chip Lake, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a fervent supporter of Nathan Deal. Westmoreland was among those who jumped in when Deal’s campaign hit the doldrums this spring.

After receiving the robo-call from Johnson, Lake posted the following on his Facebook page:

ejohnson

Former state senator Eric Johnson of Savannah

[Lake] is disappointed in a man that I used to have [a lot] of respect for. Instead of holding up his end of a deal Eric Johnson instead decides that he needs to record a robo call calling for “unity”. I mean really, Eric?? I, and many others that received such a call could have done without the sanctimonious lecture.

So was there an agreement between Deal and Johnson, that one would support the other in a runoff? Brian Robinson, …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Was there a runoff agreement between Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson? »